Title: Ruth: 3:1; God is intimately involved in our lives, whether humble or arrogant.
Chapter 3 begins the third main division of the book.
RUT 3:1Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, "My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?
The Hebrew word translated “security” refers to a condition of rest, but in the context it is clear that Naomi seeks marriage for Ruth, and so it is rest and security.
It is all Naomi’s idea, but it is obviously God’s desire for Ruth to betroth herself to Boaz.
Here we have the mystery of God and human working together to carry out His purpose.
This concept leads us on another short journey in God’s wonderful revelation.
How does God do it? How does He control history without violating the free-will and self-determination of man? God is not far away and uncaring as the secular, educated agnostics imagine. He is very much involved in the lives of all of the people. Christ made this abundantly clear.
The agnostic imagines a god far away, unconcerned, and unknowable, and as such the man thinks he evades accountability. God is intimately involved in the affairs of men.
LUK 12:1 Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of the multitude had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
I love when Jesus defines His usage of words. It removes all ambiguity. Leaven is hidden and it secretly makes its way throughout the dough as it is kneaded and secretly puffs up the dough with carbon dioxide. Leaven represents sin, but here Jesus isolates that to the sin of hypocrisy. They present one thing and mean another. They offer a picture of themselves that is holy and righteous, but inwardly they are full of lust, greed, malice, and hate. They believe therefore, quite insanely, that God only sees their overt showing like the rabble in Israel. Jesus makes clear that this is not the case. God sees the inward man, and He warns us that we are to make sure that we present ourselves to God without such hypocrisy.
And how would we present to God a clean inward man? Wretched men that we are? You all know. Our Lord Jesus, our beautiful Savior, died so that we could have it, and He gave us His mind and His Spirit so that we could actively have it daily, and through it, fellowship with Him daily.
Like leaven pervades the dough, the corrupt, evil inward man pervades all of himself, his life, no matter how hard he conceals it.
Just around the time of this teaching, the Lord was invited to lunch at a Pharisees house. The Pharisee later regretted it.
LUK 11:37 Now when He had spoken, a Pharisee asked Him to have lunch with him; and He went in, and reclined at the table.
LUK 11:38 And when the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised that He had not first ceremonially washed before the meal.
LUK 11:39 But the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness.
LUK 11:40 "You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also?
LUK 11:41 "But give that which is within as charity [alms given in mercy], and then all things are clean for you.
LUK 11:42 "But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue [fragrant, medicinal herb] and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
LUK 11:43 "Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the front seats in the synagogues, and the respectful greetings in the market places.
LUK 11:44 "Woe to you! For you are like concealed tombs, and the people who walk over them are unaware of it."
God sees this easily, just as Jesus did. The man fools himself that he is fooling his Creator. This only reinforces his stupidity. He invents an image of God that is just a caricature in his own mind in the hope that his conscience will be at ease. He comforts himself by knowing that there are many others out there who agree with the caricature of God that he does. No matter how many others believe in that false image, it will not put his conscience at ease in the way that he hopes. God is involved intimately with every man.
Yet God not only sees the hypocrisy of evil men, He is intimately acquainted with the desires of those who love Him. God was working with Naomi somehow when she happened to come up with a plan. He was also working with Ruth when she “happened” onto Boaz’s field and when Boaz “happened” to notice her.
Would we desire God to work with us or against us? How easy and obvious it is to answer that question.
God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. [PRO 3:34]
LUK 12:1b “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
LUK 12:2 "But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
LUK 12:3 "Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
It is convenient for the atheist and agnostic to dismiss God and subsequently dismiss justice. It is convenient for them to believe that good and evil are determined by the reasoning of man. Behold how the reason of man has fared with good and evil!
Gen 1 begins with “In the beginning God,” Gen 3 opens the dialogue of Satan with, “has God said? You surely shall not die,” and Gen 50 ends with Joseph in a coffin. As one writer puts it, “The worst effect of sin is within, and is manifest not in poverty, and pain, and bodily defacement, but in the discrowned faculties, the unworthy love, the low ordeal, the brutalized and enslaved spirit.”
But as Rom 1 states, “every man is without excuse.” The scriptures tell us that even the ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s stall.
They attempt to suppress the desire for eternity that God has placed in every heart, seeing only birth and death, only God can call to the afterlife.
He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.
Man’s confinement is certainly narrow. He knows only his own life and his own time, if he even knows that. He sees birth and death and the dash in between, as on a gravestone, which is every man’s measly years. Each man is a small fragment of the workings of God, and yet within each man is an aching for eternity, for someone beyond himself, beyond time. The atheist/scientist says that time will just go on until all the stars burn out or the universe cools enough. How bleak? Within every man is a longing for eternity and God has put it there. Yet, man cannot know it. This is not cruel. It is of mercy that only God can reveal eternity to a man. He himself cannot, nor can another man show it to him. Jesus alone is the bread that has come from heaven.
Man cannot hide his ignorance from God. He cannot suppress his desire for eternity with caricatures of God nor false religions and science. Man is accountable to God for his decisions, and his only rescue is in the cross of Christ. Remember how the NT took the word grace to a level never seen before; grace towards one’s enemies.